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Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy FAQ

What is Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?

This is when psychedelic medicine is used along with therapy to create a deeper understanding of one’s mental health issues and stimulate a healing reaction that can result in sometimes profoundly positive changes in patients.  This is a specialized kind of therapy that requires specialized training and should be conducted under clinically supervised conditions to ensure patient safety and maximize potential benefits.  It is essential to the success of psychedelic-assisted therapy that there be careful preparation, a safe environment for the sessions and time following these sessions for making sense of the experience and learning how to bring the new insights and changes into one’s daily life. 

'"Cosmic Eye" by Mike Dubois

Cosmic Eye

What kinds of psychedelic medicines can be legally used?

Currently in North Carolina, ketamine is the only legal psychedelic medicine that can be used with a prescription.  Ketamine is a controlled Schedule 3 medication which means it is only available by prescription and must be used under the supervision of a physician or other appropriately qualified prescriber.  Ketamine, when administered properly, can stimulate relatively short-acting (45-70 minutes) psychedelic experiences that can be helpful with depression and other conditions and can sometimes provide the patient with powerful insights into themselves and their treatment issues.  It can also help inspire patients to make necessary changes in their lives.

Is MDMA legal?

Western North Carolina

MDMA is currently a Schedule 1 drug which is the most restrictive category and means it cannot be available for legal use in treatment.  Despite the evidence that MDMA could be a powerful healing tool when it was legal to use in therapy for almost 10 years, the growing recreational use of MDMA caused the DEA to ban it in 1985.  The FDA recently closed the Expanded Access program and is reviewing the research with MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD.  It is hoped that MDMA will become an approved prescription treatment for PTSD sometime in early 2025.

Is MDMA the same as "Ecstasy" or "Molly"?

The drugs being sold on the street as “ecstasy” or “mollie” likely contain substances that are not MDMA and have the potential to be quite dangerous.  MDMA that is used legally under clinical supervision is guaranteed to be pharmaceutically pure and research demonstrates that it can be safely taken by pre-screened individuals.

What is Expanded Access?

When an investigational treatment has been researched and found to be safe and at least as effective as current treatments for a life-threatening condition, the FDA may allow specially trained providers to offer access to the investigational treatment before it is approved. 

How can I receive MDMA-Assisted Therapy at The Pearl Psychedelic Institute?

The FDA has closed the Expanded Access program and is no longer accepting applicants.  At this point, all potential providers are in a holding pattern as we all await the decision from the FDA and DEA regarding approval of the New Drug Application (NDA) and rescheduling.  We anticipate that process will not be complete until early 2025.  If (or when) the rescheduling occurs, we will open an application portal at that time.  Keep an eye on our social media pages and website as we will announce updates there. 

Will MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD be expensive if it is approved?

MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD will likely be expensive if/when approval occurs sometime in early 2025.  The treatment currently requires two specially trained therapists and the treatment is about a 46-hour process which will make it costly for anyone having to pay out of pocket.  It will take insurance companies agreeing to reimburse providers for this treatment to make it affordable and accessible for most.  The Pearl is a non-profit and our mission is to make psychedelic-assisted therapy accessible to those that need it.  Our intention is to work creatively and tirelessly to find ways to fundraise so that this can happen.

The Pearl Psychedelic Institute MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

How can I support MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD & The Pearl Psychedelic Institute?

The Pearl is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we rely on fundraising and grants and donations from folks like you to help us maintain our mission of educating people about psychedelic-assisted therapy, making psychedelic-assisted therapy accessible to the people that need it, and continuing to explore ways of using psychedelic medicines safely and effectively.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation by visiting the Donate page on this website because we are all in this together and every little bit helps.

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"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Helen Keller

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